If you have a child between the ages of zero to five years old, and you are struggling with maintaining friendships or just having friends during this stage, you’re going to love this episode. We are hosting Danielle Bayard Jackson, a publicist and friendship coach, to discuss how to grow your friendships when you have little kids.
Danielle is a momma to a three-month-old and three-year-old, so she has navigated the waters of making mom friends with the demands of children. So, let’s jump in!
I am in the thick of it with an infant and toddler. It can be hard to buckle down and pursue friendship intentionally. We first have to realize it starts with our mindset and language. If you keep saying you don’t have time for friendship, we are limiting ourselves.
Be creative and try to find a way to make time for friendships. Work the muscle and make room for friendships, and it gets easier.
The first thing to adjust? You need to adjust what hangouts look like. You probably don’t have hours to spend at brunch every weekend. It could look like running an errand with a friend—I know it’s not sexy, but it’s practical. Grocery and Target runs can be fun too!
Sometimes it’s all in the little things—a stroll with the kids, a cup of coffee, and a place to talk are enough.
Develop rituals—try making something like “Friday’s catch-up days” with an open-ended invitation. I try to do this with a friend. For the most part, we always reach out for visiting on Friday at 10 am. It gives me reassurance that we have some built-in time to regularly catch up. And at those times, we skip all the small talk and just get into what we want to connect and talk about.
I love the concept of running errands with each other and getting straight to the real talk. It takes so much pressure off of your conversation. I love that you can get to the hard spots in life and make time for those. You can ask questions like, “What are some struggles you are experiencing as a mom?” or “What can I help you with?”
What advice do you have for the mom who has a toddler and wants to be friends with a new mom to a baby?
This situation can be a struggle. The mom who is in a later stage can feel like a mentor, and constantly feel like they are giving advice. That mom might really be hoping for a peer relationship. I am a big fan of being honest and saying what’s on your mind. Offer advice when you feel like you can, but don’t always feel like you have to jump into a superhero mindset and solve her problems. Be a great listener!
I love that. What advice do you have for someone who wants to talk about non-stop about mothering experiences?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, but our conversations are often pulled towards mothering— I can only talk about diaper rash cream for so long! I suggest very tenderly and suavely steering the conversation to a different topic. Something as simple as saying, “What’s going on?”
Everyone benefits when mom is feeling good!
I can sometimes feel major guilt when I am not able to meet up with my friends due to our kids’ schedules. I have a rule: if I see something that reminds me of a friend, I automatically send it to her via text, video, or a voicemail! It’s one of those ways to stay connected when you can’t meet up.
You can say something like, “Hey, this made me think of you! Or this reminded me of our trip last summer together. I thought you’d get a laugh!” It helps to nurture the relationship.
You might have a friend who has an appointment coming up and needs some encouragement. I’ll ask them about the time and make a note in my calendar to remind me to ask them about it. That can leave a valuable impression too.
Some of my favorite apps like Voxer or Marco Polo can help you communicate with them. It takes no effort, but now she can hear your voice and it humanizes the experience.
I also love having shared experiences— schedule to watch a favorite Netflix show or listen to a podcast and then set up a call to chat about it!
One final tip I’ll offer if you are going through a season where you are more homebound and feeling guilty is to set up hibernation friends! These are friends who you reach out to while you are stuck in ‘mom mode’ and plan events and check-in. Stay invested through communication like texts and calls. Tell them that you are looking forward to connecting when things slow down.
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